Advocacy in action – Mountain Biking at Lyme

Advocacy comes in all shapes and forms. The Mountain Bike ‘Advocacy Files’ show some great examples of initiatives undertaken by Peak District MTB, Ride Sheffield and Keeper of the Peak, but we shouldn’t forget the great work kick-started by others across the Peak District. And so it was that Peak District MTB attended a consultation on mountain biking at Lyme last week, organised by the National Trust’s Outdoor Activity Development Officer, based on site.

Lyme – formerly known as Lyme Park – is a 1400 acre National Trust estate inside the Cheshire Peak District near Disley. A hugely popular venue with an estimated 800,000 visitors every year, the estate has very few public rights of way, even for walkers. However, it is dotted with paths and – as a quick search on Strava will prove – is a popular venue for cyclists.

As private land with restrictions placed on usage it’s not straightforward to create new trails, nor is it possible to have a “ride anywhere” approach (current access for cyclists can be viewed here). However, by having an open discussion with mountain bikers and others users of the estate, the land managers can investigate great new ideas to develop sustainable mountain biking opportunities in Lyme.

As Graham Clark, Outdoor Activity Development Officer for Lyme and Dunham Massey said,

“We are keen to work with all Park users to improve access within our boundary, and as a Mountain Biker myself, I can see the draw of riding at Lyme. Cyclists currently regularly use the estate and we are hoping that this consultation will lead to a much better relationship between us, and improved access in the future.”

Representatives from Peak District MTB were present at the meeting which had a great turn-out of over 50 people. Many were mountain bikers and cyclists, some were walkers, some were both; this really helps with getting a balanced view. There was some terrific discussion on what mountain bikers and other cyclists are looking for, why they ride where they do and plenty of practical suggestions for improving mountain biking with minimal conflict with other user groups. These ideas will be reviewed by the Development Officer and estate Lead Ranger Chris Dunkerley. We look forward to seeing what happens next.

This is advocacy. This is what shows the wider community that mountain bikers are a responsible lot who just want to enjoy our fabulous Peak District on two wheels. It was great to get involved with this so early on and we look forward to sharing developments with you.

10 May 2017